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Sunday, January 31

Pretty Colors on a (Snow) White Day...

The trees are dripping, and the streets and sidewalks are starting to clear. A thick layer of snow and ice still covers the grass, but everything else is starting to go back to normal. I really love snow, but I don't love the mess it leaves behind. Our backyard will be one giant mud puddle for weeks. Gross.
We took Porter for a walk around the neighborhood this afternoon, and we stopped at our little community grocery store. We're fortunate that we have a shopping center in the heart of our neighborhood. Built in the late 1940s, it houses a pizza place, pub, barber shop, salon, dry cleaners, dentist (where I was on Friday) and a boutique. Everything is very vintage, and we love that we can walk to it!
After slipping and sliding our way back home, we curled up on our guest bed with our snowflake cookies, and I read some of my favorite blogs. Most of them are so colorful, and they inspired me to take these pictures. I hope color makes you as happy as it makes me. :)
What have you seen on a blog lately that has inspired you?

Vintage poster and a lot of red.

My favorite vintage embroidered pillow on my favorite chair.
Colorful vinyl.
Style books.
Our sunroom, aka Porter's room... A pretty Anthropologie dish... A vignette of old books and milk glass...
Our cheerful guest bedroom where we spent the afternoon reading in the sun.

Saturday, January 30

Snow Day!

For the second time this year, Memphis has seen snow. For those of you who don't know the Bluff City that well, snow is a rare occurrence. If we're lucky, we'll get one decent snow (decent is 1-3 inches) per year. For the past two years, we've had two good snow days, and both of them happened in March. It's not common for us to get snow in January, but thank goodness it's not killing all of our spring flowers! All week long the weather forecasts reported that we would get snow and ice on Thursday night, but when we woke up on Friday morning, there wasn't anything on the ground. Shortly after six, the snow and ice finally started falling. By eight, there was a lot of accumulation. I had a dentist appointment in our neighborhood, so I ventured out to get my teeth cleaned. Although my dentist is about one minute from our house, I could barely see where I was going. It was crazy! After the dentist, I stopped in our neighborhood grocery store, which is straight out of 1955 and totally adorable, and then I came back home. I had several work projects with me, so I spent the day organizing photos and watching the mixture of snow and ice fall from the sky. It was a great way to spend a Friday. Fast forward to Saturday morning: the temperature isn't supposed to break freezing until Monday, so it seems like we'll be hibernating this weekend. I'm okay with that. It'll give us an excuse to do some organizing and hopefully some more blogging. :) Here are some photos from our snow day:
Friday morning. Look at those big flakes!! That's the Magnolia in our front yard. It's so pretty with snow on it.
Our street on Saturday morning. Peaceful.
Frozen Magnolia leaves. Another view from our front porch. One of my favorite sounds in the world? The sound of snow falling, especially at night. Sadly, I don't have any night photos.
Early Friday, before the snow had really started to accumulate on the grass. But look at the driveway and the street! Wow!
Porter in the snow/ice. He thinks he's a snow dog...
Our bird feeder with little icicles.
Icy branches. So pretty.
Icy monkey grass. When we moved into our house, we had monkey grass EVERYWHERE. This is all that remains, and it looks really nice with ice on it!
Want to know the weirdest thing about our snow day? It was 60 degrees last weekend. Yikes!

Wednesday, January 27

Reading is Fun

I've been trying to get inspired to write a post all week, but for some reason, the words and photographs just haven't been coming together. Perhaps it has something to do with the weather - it was 60 degrees last week, and now the NWS is predicting ice tomorrow night. I guess it's back to wearing woolly tights and boots every day.... I know the entire country is experiencing similar scenarios, so I figured we might need something to do on these cold winter nights. Books have been my companion for as long as I can remember, and our home is filled with them. On nights like these, I try to turn to them before I turn on the TV. That's pretty easy to do, because there are so many wonderful books out there that I have yet to read. Jonathan and I love going to old bookstores to hunt for books, and we always walk away from our treasure hunting trips with at least one old title. It's a shame that our home is only 1100 square feet, because it means we don't have room for a library. We do have books in our living room, dining room and both bedrooms though! Of all of the books I've read, these are my favorites. These are the ones I want to read and reread over and over again...Sigh! 1. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins - Written in 1859 and close to 1000 pages, this book seemed a bit daunting to me when I bought it on a whim several summers ago. However, once I opened it, I could not put it down. Read it. It's a classic! 2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - I think this book tops most people's lists. I read it the summer after my senior year in high school, and it immediately became my absolute favorite book. The sequel, Scarlett, is also a great book. Alexandria Ripley, the author, was handpicked by Margaret Mitchell's estate to write it, and it was set in Charleston, South Carolina and Ireland, among other places. You don't get any more "Southern Lit" than Scarlett O'Hara. Plus, she's feisty! 3. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier - This is one of the creepiest books I've ever read, and the imagery is incredible. I've been dying to see the movie (Alfred Hitchcock's first film) to see if I'm picturing Manderley, Rebecca and the other characters as Hitchcock did. It's wickedly fabulous. You won't be able to put it down. 4. Evening by Susan Minot - I was in a book club with some friends two summers ago, and this was the first book we read. It had special meaning for me because my maternal grandmother died of cancer, and the title character is dying of cancer throughout the book. As she's suffering, she drifts back to her youth, and you see the person she was and who she became as she moved through her life. I couldn't help but wonder who Susan Minot had lost while I was reading this. The writing was so painfully honest and real that it didn't seem to be fictitious. Either way, it's a beautiful book. Don't judge it based on the movie - the book is much better. :) 5. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes - I spent a lot of time in Italy as a child because my paternal grandmother is Italian. This is such a wonderful story of self discovery and of enjoying simple pleasures in a beautiful old villa in Italy. The recipes aren't bad either. You'll be craving wine and fine Italian food after reading it, and you'll be ready to go to Italy!

Saturday, January 23

Collections...

I've noticed a lot of bloggers have been sharing photos of their personal collections, and I thought it would be cool to do the same. My collections are all small, and most of them were started in the past year when Jonathan and I became avid vintage hunters. It's amazing what you can find on antiquing trips!
Vintage Florentine Plaques. This is the third in my collection.
Vintage Linens. This is my most recent find. I loved the sweet little rosebuds. I have a ton of hand towels, and we only have one bathroom. Go figure. I also have a growing collection of pillow cases, table runners, table cloths and dresser cloths. You can find them everywhere, and some of them are really cheap and in perfect condition.
Vintage cookbooks. I especially love colorful Betty Crocker cookbooks.
Shells. I've spent time combing beaches all over the country and in the Caribbean, but the best shells I've ever found came from Hilton Head Island when Jonathan and I were on our honeymoon. Luckily, we weren't traveling by air because our suitcases would have been overweight! Shells from South Carolina are huge and so pretty and colorful!
Vintage Florentine boxes.
Vintage Books. I especially like children's books with illustrations. I bought Heidi last week. It's enchanting.
I also have a pretty scary collection of shoes and purses, most of which I amassed during my college years. Luckily they continue to serve me well in the real world! :)
What do you collect?

Wednesday, January 20

Charleston

One of our favorite things to do is travel. Last year, thanks in large part to Jonathan's work schedule, we were fortunate to get to go on four trips. The second of those was to Charleston, South Carolina. We'd never been before, but we spent our honeymoon in nearby Savannah, Georgia, and loved it, so we knew we'd love Charleston as well.
We flew from Memphis to Charleston on Memorial Day weekend, and spent two days photographing beautiful old buildings, eating and drinking way too much, exploring eclectic little shops and walking along Folly Beach. We hit all of our personal high points on this trip: very old architecture, food and drink, a little antique (book) shopping and the beach. If you've never been to Charleston, I highly recommend it. As one of the South's oldest cities (where the Civil War began), it's packed with history. I'm sure it's brutally hot in the summer, but it was quite lovely in late May - not too hot, but not too cold either - perfect weather for jeans and a t-shirt.
I'm going to let my photos do most of the talking here, but I do want to share a few things that we enjoyed on our trip to Charleston...
Blue Bicycle Books - This local bookstore features rare and used books. We loved its tiny rooms with books literally from floor to ceiling, and of course, the bookstore cat, Purdy. I am a believer that every bookstore needs a bookstore cat. Jonathan found a ton of great books here, and I bought one really cool book (see below).
Taco Boy - I have a confession. I love Mexican food probably more than any other food on the planet. Quesadillas, fajitas, salsa, and basically any ingredient included in the food itself. You get the picture. Of all of these foods and ingredients, nachos top the list. I am quite the nacho connoisseur - every time we go to a new Mexican restaurant, I have to try the nachos. Most of the time I'm disappointed because I want them to be West-coast style with lots of melted cheese, jalapenos, refried beans and fresh veggies. However, when Jonathan and I stopped at Taco Boy, it was different. We ate lunch on their patio on a beautiful day, the magaritas were flowing (and they were FABULOUS), the chips and salsa were yummy and the nachos were some of the best I've ever eaten. They arrived on this low cake pan-type platter, and they had been baked so the cheese was melty and the chips were slightly crunchy. Good stuff. Plus, Taco Boy inspired us to start using a cake pan for our at-home nacho cooking, and it definitely made our nachos a lot better. Not as good as Taco Boy, but better than most of the nachos in Memphis...
Walking Tour - If you have some tennis shoes, a hat (I bought a big wide-brimmed one locally), and the desire, I recommend walking around this city on foot. We didn't rent a car, and we really like to walk, so we grabbed a map and explored. There are so many beautiful old homes and even more beautiful gardens....it's breath-taking, especially in the spring. There were flowers everywhere. I'm sure there are tons of books on Charleston's beautiful scenery, but I found this book at Blue Bicycle, and I fell in love with it. The book is called Very Charleston, and it's written and illustrated by Diana Hollingsworth Gessler. It was one of my only keepsakes from our trip, but it's the perfect one. Thanks to Diana's writing and drawings, I feel like I'm in Charleston every time I open this book. An added benefit: it's journal-sized - so cute!
We didn't have much luck with antiquing or clothes shopping on this trip, but there are plenty of cute stores. I think part of our problem was that we were in town on Memorial Day weekend and a lot of places were closed. Regardless, Charleston is a fun, vibrant town, and it makes a great weekend getaway location.
Makes me want leave on Friday...

Tuesday, January 19

Audrey

One of three Audreys on my jewelry armoire. I decoupaged this in college.
If you're an Audrey fan, I highly recommend Audrey Style by Pamela Clarke Keogh. It's a fun read.
Audrey's famous sunglasses and trench coat from Breakfast at Tiffany's. I'm not sure if this dress or the Sabrina dress is more famous, but I thought it was awesome when when Natalie Portman got to wear it on the cover of Harper's Bazaar a few years ago. What girl doesn't like to play dress up? Audrey and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday. This outfit changed my closet forever.
Audrey on the set of Sabrina. This may be my favorite dress of all-time. I have yet to find the 2010 version of it...Perhaps it's time to start hunting for the 1950's version instead.
Audrey books and one of two Audrey posters in our home. Roman Holiday is the other one.
Audrey and Cat, as featured on my armoire.

Ah, fashion. I remember begging my mom to buy me my first Seventeen magazine when I was in the sixth grade. That was the year I started following the real-world trends, and bell bottom jeans, plastic purses, and Airwalk tennis shoes were all the rage (oh yes, I radiated coolness - ha!). After 24 months of trying to be a fashion plate, I finally began to realize that trendy didn't fit my personality. Luckily for me, it was about that time that I discovered my favorite movie, Roman Holiday. Audrey basically wore three outfits in that movie, but it wasn't really even about the clothes (although her white blouse, skirt and leather sandals were pretty fabulous). It was her simple, classic look and her timelessness that inspired me. Almost overnight, I stopped shopping at Gadzooks, and began "investing" in my wardrobe by picking up items from Gap and Banana Republic. Those little investments have paid off - twelve years later, my closet is filled with lots of similar looking clothes, but believe it or not, I still wear quite a few items I bought at BR back in high school.

So what is it about Audrey that makes her such a fashion icon? Could be that everything she wore in Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany's could be worn today. Or that a twenty-five-year-old or a fifty-five-year-old could borrow her outfits, and neither of them would look silly. Her style was about the little details - the fur hat, the black sunglasses, the pearls, the turtleneck...everything was elegant, polished and just right. And perhaps the best part about her look is that Audrey loved fashion. She and her life-long friend, Hubert de Givenchy, worked together to create these timeless looks for her movies. They created fashion magic that generations of fashion designers and women have borrowed over and over and over again.

My closet is eternally grateful...

Saturday, January 16

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words...

So, I had tons of ideas for my next blog post, but after a trying day*, I decided it might be better to pull out my brand-new media reader and show you some of the photos I've been taking lately.
A lovely Cardinal, also known as a Redbird here in Memphis...So sweet!
Our happy snowman centerpiece...yep, here are the long-lost Christmas photos! Our anniversary cake. Hands down, the Peabody makes the most delicious cakes. If you don't believe me, order a white cake with fresh strawberries-and-cream filling, topped with buttercream and fondant. It's worth every single calorie. YUM!
Our Christmas Tree - 2009!
The wonderful Shiny Brites. I only wish I'd taken a picture of their boxes. The boxes are almost as fabulous as the ornaments. :)
My grandmother's painted roses. She gave them to me for Christmas in 2001, which was her second to last Christmas. They're one of my dearest treasures.
Our chandelier...we found this on one of our first antique store adventures....in Hermosa Beach, California. I begged Jonathan to let me carry it back on the plane, but luckily the store offered to ship it to us for a very reasonable price. The store is called Star's Antique Market. It's fabulous and thisclose to my three favorite beaches -- Hermosa, Redondo and Manhattan Beach. Definitely worth a trip if you're in the area!
My last pink rose of the season.
*In case you were wondering about the trying part, the plumbing in our entire house was stopped up today. I discovered this after spending my lovely Saturday morning cleaning and making petit fours (which turned out looking a bit worse for wear). I discovered this moments before Jonathan got home from the office, where he'd been since 8 a.m. And then to make matters worse, it started raining....boo! On a brighter note, the toilet, tub and washing machine are all now fully operational. Thank you small miracles!!

Tuesday, January 12

Cooking for the Week

With our hectic schedules during the week, we usually try to cook something that we can eat several nights in a row. The cold weather makes us crave hot dinners, so soup is often on the menu. This week we opted for a vegetable soup so we could make up for not eating any vegetables over the weekend. This recipe is also great for using veggies that might have otherwise gone to waste! It's delicious and so simple to make.
Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas
Box of Organic Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
Half Box of Organic Tomato Soup
Five Tomatoes
Five or Six Red Potatoes
Three or Four Carrots
Two Green Bell Peppers
Plenty of Frozen Corn
Two Purple Onions
Two Bay Leaves
Sage
Oregano
Dried Chickpeas
Pepper
Wash and cut all of your vegetables. Peel your carrots. You can use the vegetables recommended or whatever you have available. Pour the broth and soup into your crockpot, and then begin filling it with vegetables. I recommend using plenty of each type of vegetable, as well as plenty of chickpeas. However, you definitely want to make sure there is plenty of liquid in your soup so that the vegetables are covered. Stir well. Cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours. Add pepper to taste.
For some odd reason, I started craving cinnamon rolls in a meeting today, and I couldn't put them out of my mind. Most recipes for cinnamon rolls are pretty complicated and require an hour-plus to make, but this recipe is insanely simple and the cinnamon rolls are yummy too. No pictures tonight, but can't you smell them?? :)
Easy Cinnamon Rolls
Two Cups of Flour
Three Teaspoons of Baking Powder
Six Tablespoons of Butter
Two-third Cups of Milk
Two Tablespoons of Butter
Two Teaspoons of Cinnamon
One-fourth Cup of Sugar
Sift flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in six tbsp. of butter. Stir in milk. Use your hands to form a ball, and then transfer the mixture to a pastry mat. Using a rolling pan, form a rectangle - about 7 x 16 inches (if possible!) and 1/4 inch thick. Melt two tsp. of butter in the microwave, and then stir together with cinnamon and sugar. Pour mixture onto the dough, and roll into a log. Pinch ends together to seal. Cut into one inch slices, and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes. Serve Hot. Yum!

Sunday, January 10

My Vintage Obsession

For as long as I can remember, I've always loved old things. As a child, I was crazy about the things my mom had loved as a child - her books, dolls, Barbie clothes (we have the most awesome flight attendant outfit you've ever seen, complete with tiny "wings"), her ballet recital costume - the list goes on. Lucky for me, my grandmother kept everything, so I was able to dig through boxes of old things every time we visited California. I remember it drove my mom and grandmother crazy, because I made a huge mess, but I loved it so much. When my grandmother passed away in 2003, these boxes of memories became a link to happier times. My mother, sister and I spent hours looking through letters, photos, buttons, baby shoes, Christmas ornaments... and began to realize that my grandmother had not only kept my mother's memories, but memories from her life and our lives as well. For us, these boxes are priceless. Without a doubt, my love affair with the past began at my grandmother's house in California in the late '80s, but it continues today. I think I enjoy old things because they really are our last link to the past, and I want to save them before they're gone forever. Yes, I'm obsessed. A lot of my postings will share these treasures that I've found. I hope they inspire you to seek out antique stores and find your own treasures, or at the very least, start haunting your own grandmother's house for some really great stuff. In most cases, vintage is prettier, cheaper and better made than anything you'll buy today, and it's eco-friendly too! What could be better than that? :) Here are some recent finds of the linen variety. I am in love with these pretty table linens, hand towels and pillow cases. You can usually find them for under $20 (score!), and they're so collectable. I'm always on the hunt for them. They're also the reason I want to learn to embroider....
I hope you enjoyed my first real vintage post! I'll leave you with my most recent find. I can't stop looking at it. It's so beautiful!
Yesterday we went to Flashback, the local "vintage department store," where I found this amazing purse for under $40. It's in perfect condition. I did some research on the Internet, and you can find similar styles in some of Etsy's shops if you like this look. I think it's very 1960's Jackie Kennedy. Jackie is one of my style icons, but that's a different post! :)